NHS launches security review of mortuaries after David Fuller crimes
he NHS has asked all health trusts to review mortuary access after hospital electrician David Fuller admitted sexually assaulting dead bodies. Fuller, 67, admitted murdering then sexually assaulting two women decades before carrying out dozens of sex attacks on corpses, aged from nine to 100-years-old, in a hospital morgue. He gained access to the bodies in mortuaries in Kent through his role as an NHS maintenance worker.
An independent investigation led by Sir Jonathan Michael will delve further into the David Fuller crimes. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government is working closely with the local police and health trust to ensure the families affected are supported.
Mr Javid also said he has asked the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) for advice on whether changes are required to existing regulations. The HTA is the regulator responsible for ensuring that human tissue is used safely and ethically and with appropriate consent.
Ahead of his murder trial, Fuller pleaded guilty to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 identified victims in mortuaries where he was working as an electrician.
Wendy Knell was found dead in her bedsit in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987
He filmed himself carrying out the attacks at mortuaries inside the now closed Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, in Pembury, where he worked in electrical maintenance roles since 1989. The shocking crimes were only discovered after he was arrested for the 1987 “bedsit murders” of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in December last year following a DNA breakthrough.
Caroline Pierce, 20, from Tunbridge Wells, was attacked outside her home in Grosvenor Park
/ PA Media
After Fuller pleaded guilty to the murders at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday, Mr Javid said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims of these horrific acts, as well as all those working in the NHS Trust and wider health service who, like me, will be profoundly shaken by the unspeakable nature of these offences.” Setting out the steps he was taking, Mr Javid said: “I have asked the health sector to take three key actions in light of these events.
“First, the NHS has written to all trusts asking for mortuary access and post-mortem activities to be reviewed against current guidance.
“Second, an independently chaired review is already underway into exactly what occurred at the trust, which will report into me.
“Finally, I have asked the Human Tissue Authority for advice on whether changes are required to our existing regulations.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid
/ PA Wire
NHS Trusts have been asked to urgently review practices with regards to effective CCTV coverage, all entry and access points controlled by swipe access, risk assessment and appropriate DBS check application.